By Peter Schmuck
10:09 PM EDT, May 7, 2012
Brian Matusz didn't make any excuses. He struggled through five innings and gave up seven earned runs to poke a big hole in all the optimism that was waiting for the Orioles when they returned from a wildly successful road trip through New York and Boston.
“I just never got in a good rhythm today,'' he said, "getting behind guys all game and flying open on pitches and leaving some breaking balls out over the plate.”
Matusz had given up just one earned run over his previous 12 1/3 innings and was coming off his first victory in almost 11 months, so he was understandably disappointed to take what appeared to be a big step backward against a very good Texas Rangers lineup.
“Any rough outing is disappointing," he said, "especially with the momentum we had as a team, coming off a good roadstand. And I just didn’t keep the team in the ballgame today. Made some bad pitches and you’ve got to move forward.”
Matusz said he struggled to establish his fastball and was inconsistent with him command overall.
"I felt like I was in and out today,'' he said. "Felt like I had some plus innings and then some bad innings where the command really faltered. I wasn’t able to get in on righties and just getting behind on counts. So, yeah, it all started with the fastball, being able to establish that and I wasn’t able to do that today. Like I said, hanging breaking balls over the plate."
His next start figures to be Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays, but the Orioles rotation is suddenly in some turmoil. Tommy Hunter was just sent down to Triple-A Norfolk, leaving his turn on Friday open to speculation. Matusz figures to stay on turn, since the club will be scrambling to fill Hunter's slot.